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ICPC probes 52 teaching hospitals over N49.4bn intervention fund spending



The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has commenced an investigation into the spending of the N49.4bn COVID-19 intervention fund by the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and 51 other health institutions that got the fund from the Federal Government.

It was gathered that this followed an alleged violation of the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, by the beneficiaries.

The FG had approved and released the sum of N950m each to 52 federal teaching hospitals and medical centres under its Economic Sustainability Plan for the building and furnishing of molecular laboratories, isolation centres and 10-bed intensive care units, among others.

A statement on Tuesday by the ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, titled, ‘COVID-19 intervention fund: ICPC investigates University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, other health institutions,’ said an investigation by the commission into the spending of the intervention fund by the UPTH and others had been initiated.

“The commission has obtained documents from the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, and the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital that would assist in its investigation of the utilisation of the fund by the health institutions,’’ the ICPC explained.

Meanwhile, Justice Mohammad Sifawa of the Sokoto State High Court has convicted and sentenced a fraudster, Bashir Muazu, to 20 years in prison on two separate charges bordering on criminal breach of trust, cheating and obtaining money under false pretence.

In the first charge, Muazu, a 46-year-old indigene of Sokoto State, was alleged to have fraudulently obtained N5,280,000 from one Dr Aliyu Ladan in the guise of supplying 600 bags of fertilizer.

The second charge alleged that Muazu obtained N3,900,000 under false pretences from the duo of Ayuba Koro and Alfa Muhammad on the pretext of selling them a tractor.

In both instances, the defendant falsely presented himself as a Director of the Sokoto State Ministry of Agriculture and owner of a tractor company.

But investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission revealed that Muazu lied in both instances in order to swindle his victims.

A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, stated, “Justice Sifawa convicted and sentenced the defendant to 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 in the first charge. He also ordered the convict to pay restitution of N5,280,000 to the victim.

“On the second charge, Justice Sifawa also convicted and sentenced the defendant to 10 years’ imprisonment with an option of N200,000 fine. He was equally ordered to pay N3, 900,000 as restitution to the victims.”

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